A Durban man is suing the South African National Blood Services as he alleges he contracted an incurable virus after receiving blood transfusions. File picture: Reuters

Durban - A Durban man who alleges he was infected with an incurable virus after receiving a series of blood transfusions, is suing the South African National Blood Service for R24 million.

According to papers filed in the city’s high court, the man - who cannot be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter - received a number of blood transfusions while he was in hospital in October 2011. The matter came before the Durban High Court on Friday but it has yet to be set down for trial.

Some two years later, he was diagnosed with HTLV-1 (or Human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type I). The virus attacks the nervous system and there is currently no known cure.

According to his particulars of claim, the man has incurred in the region of R350 000 in medical expenses over the course of the last four years.
He is also no longer able to work.

The SANBS in its court papers said it does not test its blood for HTLV-1.

In its plea, it said HTLV-1 had a low prevalence amongst South African donors.

The SANBS said at the time of the transfusions, a warning notice related to the risk of diseases being transmitted through blood transfusion was provided to the man and his treating doctor.

“Doctors treating patients are enjoined to take this into account and to consider all alternatives to blood transfusions,”  it said.

The case is expected to be heard soon.

The Mercury